Hardly a day goes by without a newspaper report about the forthcoming “ABBA reunion”. There are two new songs to be released over the next year; there’s a major TV special coming up around Christmas; there’s a “virtual reality” tour on the way; and of course, there’s the latest “Mamma Mia” movie, released this week, which I saw last night.
But ten years ago, the thought of ABBA getting back together was never on the cards. Almost ten years ago, exactly, the “unthinkable” happened, when all four members of ABBA appeared together in Stockholm for the opening night of the first “Mamma Mia” movie.
Though I’d previously booked a lengthy trip to Europe and Asia, I was unable to change my flight, and therefore wasn’t able to make it to Stockholm to witness the event, I was there the next day and was able to read about it in the newspaper.
And, as I travelled around Europe and Asia, there were posters in many languages for “Mamma Mia” almost everywhere.
That was back in the days of “staggered” movie releases, whereas now, of course we have lots of simultanenous releases. And so, it was only a few days after the release in Europe, that we saw the new movie, “Mamma Mia : Here We Go Again” screen in Sydney.
There are a few stark contrasts with the first film, including the cast changes (the Merryl Streep character makes only a brief appearance), and the inclusion of “less familiar ABBA songs” (lots of B-sides and minor hits). But importantly, the musical numbers are included in a more “natural” manner than in the first film (lots of ABBA melodies are included as backing music, and, with one or two exceptions, the transition between text and song is less “clunky”). The plotline is also much stronger. All of that means, for me, at least it’s a much stronger film. The inclusion of “Cher” is both a “jumped the shark moment”, as well as an inspired inclusion, as she gave me the film’s “laugh out loud” moments. Oh, and she’s releasing an album of ABBA songs later in the year. It’s all much an “enterprise” these days, compared with the early days of “Mamma Mia”. The movie? I liked it very much. However, with less familiar, more melancholoy tunes, I wonder if it will be as successful as the first film.
On a rather amusing note, inadvertently I booked myself into a screening under the banner, “Chicks At The Flicks”. As the name implies, there were maybe a dozen men in the entire cinema, which was definitely an advantage in the queues for the toilet (as if that’s ever a problem for men). As I waited to enter the movie, many of those attending were looking at stalls with cosmetics and jewellery. As I entered the movie, I was presented a “Chicks At The Flicks Goodies Bag”.
I’m not sold on the “Glitter Jelly”, but the $100 wine voucher will definitely be used. Awesome!